PDS needs recruitment boost says dentists’ union

Children are waiting up to 12 years for their first dental screening due to “totally inadequate staffing levels” within the Public Dental Service (PDS), says the Irish Dental Association (IDA).

The association says that there are currently 300 PDS dentists currently employed but that this number would have to be increased by 50 per cent if the service is to meet its objectives.

Fintan Hourihan, chief executive of the IDA, said: “Staff shortages, clinic closures and a lack of policy and direction by the HSE are putting an intolerable burden on staff in the PDS and undermining
their ability to provide an effective service.

“While the under 16 population has increased by 20 per cent over the past decade to ı.ı million, the number of dentists in the PDS charged with looking after their oral health has dropped by 20 per cent due to recruitment restrictions.

“The situation with children and oral examinations is akin to a lottery and that cannot be allowed to continue any longer. We are calling on the Minister for Health to direct the HSE to urgently commence a recruitment campaign to bring staffing to required levels.”

As part of its pre-Budget submission, the IDA is also calling for the restoration and expansion of tax relief on dental treatments – Med 2 – for prescribed dental treatments.

Hourihan continued: “We estimate that half a billion euro worth of supports to patients and their families covered by the medical card and PRSI dental schemes have been lost since 2010.

“Expansion of the Med 2 Scheme will generate increased access and attendance, improve dental health and, ultimately bolster economic activity and returns to the Exchequer.”

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Published: 16 October, 2017 at 14:14